How to minimise your feet slipping when bench pressing

Learn how to minimise your feet slipping when bench pressing

Feet slipping during the bench press is a prevalent issue in powerlifting. An issue that seems to be apparent is people are looking for the ‘perfect’ foot position to maximise leg drive. However, there is no perfect position; a range of foot placements can be used to maximise leg drive. Likewise, what is comfortable may differ between individuals.

This is an example of the evidence based coaching and training that I provide either face to face in our gym in Taren Point or online.

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Addressing a Common Issue in Powerlifting

The Objective of Leg Drive – Leg drive in bench pressing serves two primary purposes:

1. Body positioning:
Using the legs to drive the upper back/shoulders into the bench to help with body positioning (creating a high chest / arched back to minimise the distance between the torso and barbell)

2. Transferring force:
Force generated from the legs can transfer into the upper back, causing a reaction force to go through the arms and into the barbell. As such, force from the legs can assist with pushing the barbell off the chest.


Identifying the Root Cause of Feet Slipping

The most common mistakes that lead to slipping feet include;

  • Feet positioned too Far forward: When feet are placed too far forward, they tend to slip as you attempt to drive against the ground. This is an easy fix = don’t have the feet so far forward. Moving the feet say 10cm back or forward is not going to be the difference in adding 10% to someone’s bench press.
  • Place the feet in a position which feels comfortable, provides what feels like maximum upper back drive into the bench pad, and has a low frequency of slipping forward. If someone has a high frequency of feet slipping from being too far forward, pull them slightly back until finding a spot where the frequency reduces.


Optimal Foot Positioning for Effective Leg Drive

There is no one-size-fits-all foot position. Each lifter may find a range of positions that effectively drives the shoulders into the bench pad, allows for a high chest position and provides force transfer from the legs into the barbell.

Experiment with different foot placements to find what works best. The feet do not need to be very far out in front to maximise leg drive. Avoid going on two ends of the extreme, very far in front or tucked right under the body. The feet can be placed in most areas in between these two extremes to maximise the benefits of leg drive. There is no perfect spot to place the feet.


Enhancing Bench Press Performance

To improve your bench press, focus on finding a foot position that maximises the ability to drive the shoulders into the bench and feels like force can be transferred from the legs to the barbell. A range of feet positions can be used to achieve the two previously mentioned end goals. There is no one-fits-all foot position. Likewise, a lifter likely has a range of feet positions they can use which will give the same bench press results.

Paul Attard
Paul Attard

Paul is the founder and head coach of SPC Performance Lab. Paul has been coaching since 2014 and has worked with all different types of people. From first timers learning the basics, all the way up to the experienced power-lifting competitors.

He tailors his approach depending on the needs, goals and experience of the individual. Paul has extensive theoretical and practical coaching experience.

- Masters of Sports & Exercise Science (Strength & Conditioning)
- Bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sports Science with First Class Honours
- Competed and won multiple natural body-building shows & power-lifting competitions.
- Held an Australian power-lifting record.

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SPC Performance Lab is a gym in Taren Point in the Sutherland Shire, Sydney NSW. It is a private gym that offers strength training, powerlifting and body building training. The gym is open 24 hours, 7 days a week with membership options that include casual or regular visits.

Paul also provides a choice of personal training one on one or the option of online coaching.

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